Apple and Xiaomi Take Wearables Market Lead from Fitbit

Monday Jun 5th 2017 by Pedro Hernandez
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The companies may have elbowed Fitbit out of first place, but don't count out the fitness tracking innovator just yet.

Apple and Xiaomi have finally done it.

The companies tied for first place in the global wearables market during the first quarter (Q1) of 2017, replacing Fitbit. The companies each shipped an estimated 3.6 million wearable devices during the quarter, compared to 3 million for Fitbit.

"Fitbit finds itself in the midst of a transformation as user tastes evolve from fitness bands to watches and other products," said IDC research manager Ramon Llamas, in a June 5 announcement. "This allowed Xiaomi to throttle up on its inexpensive devices within the China market and for Apple to leverage its position as the leading smartwatch provider worldwide."

Third-place Fitbit's share of the market slipped to 12.3 percent in Q1 from 23.2 percent the year prior when the company shipped nearly 5 million of its health trackers. Apple and Xiaomi claimed 14.6 percent and 14.7 percent of the market respectively, a statistical tie.

Although Fitbit was bumped from its enviable perch at the top of the wearables rankings, its popularity among health-conscious consumers and employers can help the company weather an increasingly competitive wearables landscape.

wearables

"However, by no means should Fitbit be removed from the wearables conversation," Llamas added. "With a user base of 50 million, a strong presence within corporate wellness, and assets that keep it top of mind for digital health, Fitbit is well positioned to move into new segments and markets."

All signs point to an upcoming smartwatch from Fitbit, according to IDC. The company recently acquired Pebble, Vector and Coin.

Apple, meanwhile, was able to lure new buyers with its Series 1 and 2 Watches, who may have been put off by the higher prices and underwhelmed by the original Apple Watch. Last quarter, shipments surged 64 percent on a year-over-year basis.

China's Xiaomi made huge strides up the rankings in Q1, despite almost exclusively focusing on its home country and shipping 3.3 percent fewer wearables than the same year-ago quarter. Practically all of the company's wearables (96 percent) remained in China, many which made their way to consumers as part of smartphone bundles.

Fourth-place Samsung shipped 1.4 million smartwatches and fitness bands, a whopping 90-percent increase. Garmin rounds out the top five with shipments of 1.1 million wearable devices. All told, vendor shipped 24.7 million wearables, a year-on-year improvement of nearly 18 percent.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Datamation. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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